Reader questions city tax hike


To the Editor,

I have several questions and comments for each (Mount Airy) commissioner and would like for each to individually explain and respond. Why did you vote to increase city taxes from 48 cents per $100 to 60 cents per $100?

This is a whopping 25 percent increase! This rate is essentially equivalent to surrounding larger cities such as Winston-Salem, Greensboro and High Point; and Mount Airy is nowhere near the size of these communities nor does it offer the resources that these larger cities offer.

Mr. Yokeley, referring to city reserves of $10,800,000.00, stated that ‘you can’t keep taking money out of (the) fund balance’. What is this fund balance for Mr. Yokeley? Why does it exist? What do you and your two cohorts (Brinkley and Brown) have planned for this $10.8 million? What do you think citizens of Mount Airy have to do when they need to pay for items that have increased in price, and when they themselves have not had raises in years? I will tell you what they do and have to do; they take money out of their own personal fund balances to survive!

I suspect this fund is possibly being reserved for the Barter Theatre or for something unrelated to Mount Airy citizen needs and wants. From my understanding this theater deal is not dead in the water just yet even though it should be! And what was the initial magic number for building the Barter Theater? Why it was $10 million. Is this a coincidence or not?

Even though the NC Commission that oversees local government debt declared the theater too risky, Mayor Rowe seems to think this deal can be resurrected if the theater takes on more costs. ( http://www.virginiabusiness.com/regions/article/n.c.-expansion-plan-stirs-worry-in-theaters-hometown ).

It is your civic duty to represent the best interests of the Citizens of Mount Airy and not your own best interests. I urge the residents and Citizens of Mount Airy to remember this tax hike when it comes election time and also to remember each of your names.

Violet O’Neal Hill

Mount Airy

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